Why it is important to listen to employees in Singapore

By Abhishek Mittal
Many companies in Singapore survey their employees periodically to understand the pulse of their organisations. Typically, these surveys help companies understand the levels of Employee Engagement or Employee Satisfaction and establish the key factors which influence employees' opinions of the workplace.

In most cases, such surveys are run every 1-2 years, indicating a significant interval between two such feedback exercises.

However, our workforce is changing everyday. Companies keep losing existing employees. And they keep hiring new people.
Social, economic and technological factors influence how employees think about their jobs and employers. In such a dynamic scenario, is it enough to generate workforce insights on a periodical basis?
There are two additional points in the employees life-cycle, from which companies could collect significant workforce intelligence - employees' entry and exit.
Combined together with the other employee surveys, these can bolster your workforce insights strategy and help HR take better people-decisions.
Understanding the opinions of newly joined employees can help HR professionals in a number of ways. 
  • It can help them understand the key reasons why the employee chose their company over the others. This can also help in informing the company's unique Employee Value Proposition.
  • It can provide insights about the experiences of the employees during the selection stage. This is an important initial phase in the employee life-cycle, where the employee begins to form initial impressions in dealing with the company.
  • It can serve as a tool to measure the effectiveness of on-boarding programs and thus, improve time-to-performance.
  • It can also help identify cases of pre-mature attrition, by identifying attrition risks among new joined employees.
Similarly, surveying exiting employees can help HR professionals by uncovering several rich insights.
  • It can bring clarity to the key reasons why employees leave and provide such insights for key employee segments such as critical-skill employees, high-performers, high-potentials etc.
  • It can help develop a deep understanding of disengagement and which aspects of the Employee Value Proposition are not being delivered effectively.
  • It can help in identifying potential targets for re-recruitment, thereby helping establish an alumni base.

One may think that these can be addressed by traditional exit surveys. However, exit surveys typically suffer form several limitations.

For instance, there is often a significant time lag between the time the exit survey is conducted and the data is aggregated & analysed. Also, many exit surveys are designed as qualitative research tools, rather than striking a balance between quantitative & qualitative approaches. 

Forward-looking companies, which understand the real value of their human capital, are increasingly looking at actively "listening" to their employees across the employee life-cycle.
And they are using these insights to make data-driven decisions about their workforces. Moreover, with the advent of technology, some companies are investing in real-time insights platforms, which allow HR professionals to do analytics in real-time. 
What approaches and initiatives are you exploring to generate insights about your workforce? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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